CLC endorses Trost, Lemieux; opposes O’Leary
Campaign Life Coalition has endorsed Conservative leadership candidates Brad Trost and Pierre Lemieux, saying they are the only two unabashed pro-life candidates in the race.
CLC vice president Jeff Gunnarson said both Trost and Lemieux have perfect pro-life and pro-family voting records and have campaigned on moral issues during the leadership campaign.
Andrew Scheer, another leadership contender, also had a perfect voting record but Gunnarson said CLC is troubled by his declaration that the abortion issued has been settled by the courts and he will not reopen the matter if he becomes prime minister.
Trost and Lemieux have mentioned gendercide abortion, parental rights in education, foreign aid funding for abortion, and the right of MPs to vote their conscience during the leadership campaign. Trost has said he would like to make Canada the most pro-adoption country in the world and promote the value of people who have Down syndrome.
During the leadership debate in Edmonton in February, Pierre Lemieux said the Conservative Party must be conservative, “not Liberal light and expect to win.” He garnered the loudest applause of the evening when he declared: “I”m pro-life. I am pro-family. I am pro freedom of speech. I am socially conservative.”
Another leadership contender, Maxime Bernier, who is rated as pro-abortion by CLC, has been making a pitch for social conservative support.
In February, the Manning Conference, which caters to conservative and libertarian political staffers and activists, held a leaders debate. Bernier said, “I believe that our friends, social conservatives, have a place in our party.” He explained, “And if they want to table a bill about abortion, let’s have that debate. That would be a free vote … We must have debates about what we believe.”
The next week in Edmonton, he said, “some of our (party) members, they want to have a discussion on life issues and we have to be open to that, I’m open to that.” Bernier recounted he said to a colleague, “it will be your right as a member of Parliament to table a bill on any subject and we will have a free vote, it will be a free vote for everybody.”
CLC is urging supporters to not fill all ten slots on the ranked ballot saying that strategic voting could backfire and hurt the pro-life candidates. It is adamant that Lemieux and Trost are ranked first and second (in either order). They are also urging supporters to not, under any circumstances, vote for TV reality star and businessman Kevin O’Leary.
O’Leary told CTV’s Question Period in February he is fine with abortion, same-sex marriage, and transgender rights. He vowed to turn the Tories into a “100 per cent” pro-abortion party saying that social conservatism prevents the party from winning over young voters. He mocked believers of traditional marriage saying, “I don’t care if you want to marry a goat, I’m for it. I really am.”
CLC will issue a report on the candidates’ position on life and family issues in April. Members of the Conservative Party will receive ballots in the mail in early May. The new leader will be announced on May 27.